Glance at anyone's status updates about this past year, and you'll see the verdict is in: 2016 has pretty much sucked. Perhaps there were some bright spots, but the overall picture is lunar deathscape gray. Still, remember when politics wasn't all doom and gloom? These are
the activists to follow on Twitter in 2017 because in this time and place, we truly need them.
There's no need to beat around the bush here. These voices are more necessary than ever thanks to Donald Trump and his incoming administration. The entire Cabinet he has proposed is
against the very progress that these people are working for. And Trump himself is against the media, attacking it any time they put forward views that contradict his own. We can hope that the press corps continue to cover opposing views, but Twitter could become the key place to connect to truly progressive viewpoints, as well as for the attempts at organizing protests or other types of resistance. So sign into your account, and get ready to hit "follow." Opal Tometi is another Black Lives Matters co-founder. Her tweets are insightful and her connections to the Pan African Network in Defense of Migrant Rights brings an international focus to many of her arguments. Take this excerpt of an interview she gave to The Nation to get an idea of her powerful message: Black Lives Matter is really an affirmation for our people. It’s a love note for our people, but it’s also a demand. We know that the system was not designed for justice for us ... We know that nearly half of the incarcerated population is black people. We know that 50 percent of women who are incarcerated are black women. We don’t want to reinforce a system that is actually designed to lock up our people. We actually need to push a more profound question around the structures that are oppressing our people.
The queer, third, and final
co-founder of BLM, Patrisse Cullors also has had an international focus to her tweets as of late and is focused on finding a strategy against fascism, which she argues is the direction many Western countries are headed.
Dan Savage, considered by many as a sex columnist,
tweets about far more than that. A brilliant, sardonic wit helps Savage make progressive points on a number of issues on LGBTQIA rights and beyond. His staff at The Stranger has also promised to be a voice in the fight against Trump's right-wing policies.
Her mom may have lost the election, but
Chelsea Clinton remains a voice amplifying women from around the world and the fight for gender equality. Through her work at the Clinton Foundation, she is sure to remain engaged in the issues that she and her parents have championed since Bill left the White House.
The No DAPL protests have been successful — at least, it seems so for now — but there are many more issues facing Native Americans around the United States.
Dr. Adrienne Keene is a Cherokee Nation professor and active Twitter user. Follow her to learn things from the past and present about our country's relationship with and treatment of Native Americans. For example, "December 26, 1862: Abraham Lincoln hanged 38 Dakota men in Mankato, MN. The largest mass execution in US history." I sure didn't known that, and we really should.
Perhaps activist is not the first word you think of
associated with Lena Dunham, but she has shown time and again that she is. Her art, Lenny Letter, and Twitter account are all avenues to further her version of feminism. Take the recent controversy over her abortion comments as proof that she's always pushing the conversation along.
Another key voice against any potential Trump mass deportation plan will be
Janet Murguía. She's the president of National Council of La Raza, the largest Latino civil rights organization in the country. "Our economy would lose millions of dollars if DACA is eliminated. The social cost would be incalculable," she tweeted just before the holidays. These are the kinds of truths we must be reminded of.
Given Trump's picks for the EPA, Department of Energy, and even State Department make it clear we need to be worried about Mother Earth too.
Bill MicKibben is a big-time environmental activist. He won't let us forget the importance of fighting climate change, even if the president isn't sure it exists. Prerna Lal is an attorney at the UC Berkeley Undocumented Student Program and the East Bay Community Law Center. Her tweets and activism regularly are focused on immigration. Originally from Fiji, she was in removal proceedings until the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down and she could get papers through her partner.
Depending on how bad things do get in 2017,
Chris Goldstein's cause may become more important than ever. He's working to legalize recreational marijuana use nationwide.
When you reconnect to social media after your holiday break, go through and follow these individuals. These are just some of the huge number of activists across the United States that are worth engaging with and listening to — and not just online. Plug yourself in and you'll have plenty to be grateful for this time next year, even if Trump's president.